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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
#1, I am NOT a farmer. I find that I am often having to do farmer things. :)

I have a field that is mostly alfalfa but it is not very thick. Some timothy, some grass, mixed and patchy.
This property has been neglected and has lots of weeds, gophers, some badgers digging going after the gophers...
Trying to figure how to best get the most out of this field.
I am not terribly worried about getting a CROP off of this, but like having the alfalfa.
Last year, we cut it with the alfalfa and the thistles in it. Feeding it to sheep and they didn't seem to mind the thistles.
I THINK that we can't spray normal for the thistles because that will kill the alfalfa. ?? Other options?

This year the field is yellow with what I think is mustard.
I don't remember having this much in it last year.
Same deal, I can't spray (I think? 2-4D) or it will kill the alfalfa?

90673


If I cut this NOW, before the yellow stuff goes to seed, will it HURT the alfalfa to cut it early?
Will it help get rid of the yellow stuff? Will cutting it early help get rid of the thistles?
How do I tell when the yellow stuff is going to seed? Is it too late?

90674


There is an irrigation pump set up and a wheel line that we have put water on this, but I don't know how much is too much and when is best to have wet and when to let it dry out.

QUESTIONS, questions, questions...
 

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2-4,D will definitely hurt the alfalfa so avoid that. 2-4,DB can be used on alfalfa but not on mustard that tall or any weed that tall. The thistle will regrow after mowing as well. Only continued short mowing will hurt the thistle eventually. If thistle are isolated you might be able to spot spray them before they expand. The early mowing will not hurt the alfalfa.
 

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i have found that fertilizing to recommended levels after a soil test makes a huge difference on weed pressure
 

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Raptor works well in alfalfa. Not sure if it’ll spare the grass. You need a pesticide license to purchase raptor pretty much anywhere you go. I cut my hay and don’t worry much about mustard my cows eat it fine.
 

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I'll comment on the irrigation. The amount of water your sprinklers will discharge depends on the nozzle size and the pressure delivered to the nozzles. Your pump must be capable of delivering this pressure and flow. Here a link that may help you: Irrigation Guide (usbr.gov) .
Fundamentally, irrigation is the filling of the moisture profile in the soil to offset the water lost by evapotranspiration so that the plant can continue growing. You need to know what the evapotranspiration (Et)is. Where I lived, we had an Agrimet station nearby that gave us the previous days Et. The Et varies with the crop and is calculated using a Crop Coeficient for each specific crop. In my case I used a Etgrass pasture or Etgp.
You also need to know the water holding capacity of the soil. We had a silt loam soil and that has a water capacity of 2 inches per foot of soil depth. You also need to know that the plant can only extract about 50% of the water in the soil. In my case the rooting depth was 2 feet so the plant can only extract 2 inches of water from a 2 ft depth of soil so I had to supply that 2 inches with my wheel line sprinklers. In our area, Etgp averaged 0.20 inches of water /day so that 2 inches of water would be used up in 10 days ( 2 inches /0,20 inches/day = 10days) So every 10 days I had to supply 2 inches of water to keep the pasture growing. using the charts in my reference my sprinklers put out about 3.5 inches of water in a 11 hour set at an assumed 60 % efficiency ( not all the water from the nozzle hits the ground since there is evaporation as the droplets travel through the warm, dry air.) So I put 2.1 inches of water for each set which met a little more than the plants requirement. (3.5 inches x 0.60 = 2.1 inches).

In your case you would use Etalf if that's what you have in your stand.

Those are the basics. If you have more questions ask me.
 
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